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'Armenia!' at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY


The exhibition Armenia!, currently on show at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, explores the arts and culture of the Armenians from their conversion to Christianity in the early fourth century through their leading role on international trade routes in the 17th century. The exhibition emphasizes how Armenians developed a distinctive national identity in their homeland at the base of Mt. Ararat (widely accepted as the resting place of Noah’s Ark) and how they maintained and transformed their traditions as their communities expanded across the globe.

'Armenia!' at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

More than 140 opulent gilded reliquaries, richly illuminated manuscripts, rare textiles, liturgical furnishings made of precious materials, khachkars (cross stones), church models, and printed books demonstrate Armenia’s distinctive imagery in their homeland and other major Armenian sites, from the Kingdom of Cilicia on the Mediterranean to New Julfa, in Safavid Persia. Select comparative works display Armenian interaction with other cultures.

'Armenia!' at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Altar frontal, 1741. New Julfa, Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Armenia
[Credit: Hrair Hawk Khatcherian and Lilit Khachatryan]
'Armenia!' at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Fragmentary capital, 5th–7th century. History Museum of Armenia, Yerevan
[Credit: Hrair Hawk Khatcherian and Lilit Khachatryan]
'Armenia!' at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Reliquary of the Holy Lance, 1687. Kanaker (?); replica of the Holy Lance, Mother See of Holy
Etchmiadzin, Armenia [Credit: Hrair Hawk Khatcherian and Lilit Khachatryan]
Major Armenian repositories of their culture provide almost all the works in the exhibition. Most are on view in the United States for the first time; many have not travelled for centuries.

'Armenia!' at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Bas-relief of Amir Hasan hunting on horseback, early 14th century. Church of the White Virgin
(Spitakavor Astuatsatsin), Monastery of Spitakavor, Siwnik'. History Museum of Armenia,
Yerevan [Credit: Hrair Hawk Khatcherian and Lilit Khachatryan]
'Armenia!' at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Capital, 5th century, found near Yereruyk Cathedral [Credit: Hrair Hawk Khatcherian and Lilit Khachatryan]
'Armenia!' at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Processional or Altar Cross, 11th–12th century, with later additions, made in Aparan
[Credit: Hrair Hawk Khatcherian and Lilit Khachatryan]
Armenia! focuses on major Armenian centers of production from their homeland west and east, with emphasis on images of Armenians, from self-portraits to depictions of male and female rulers, donors, theologians, and historians. Special attention is given to works by major artists such as T'oros Roslin, Sargis Pidzak, Toros Taronatsi, and Hakob of Julfa working in the Armenian homeland, the Kingdom of Cilicia, and New Julfa.

'Armenia!' at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Gospel Book (fol. 19v), 1331. Monastery of Drazark, Cilicia. Illuminated by Sargis Pidzak; scribe: T'oros.
Armenian Mekhitarist Congregation, Library of San Lazzaro, Abbey, Venice, Italy
[Credit: Hrair Hawk Khatcherian and Lilit Khachatryan]
'Armenia!' at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Commentary on the Psalms (fol. 14v), 1449. Kaffa. "Matenadaran" Mesrop Mashtots';
Institute-Museum of Ancient Manuscripts, Yerevan, Armenia
[Credit: Hrair Hawk Khatcherian and Lilit Khachatryan]
'Armenia!' at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Alexander Romance, 16th century. Rome and unknown location. Illuminated by Zak'aria of Gnunik'
 and Hakob of Julfa; scribe: Zak'ariay of Gnunik'; "Matenadaran" Mesrop Mashtots'
Institute-Museum of Ancient Manuscripts, Yerevan, Armenia
[Credit: Hrair Hawk Khatcherian and Lilit Khachatryan]
More than half of the works on display are on loan from The Republic of Armenia with the support of The Ministry of Culture. Imposing liturgical works are coming from the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, the primary site of the Armenian Church. In Yerevan, the “Matenadaran” Mesrop Masthots` Institute - Museum of Ancient Manuscripts is lending exceptional manuscripts, and the History Museum of Armenia is lending monumental church sculptures. The Holy See of Cilicia in Lebanon, the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and the Armenian Mekhitarist Congregation in Venice are the other major Armenian religious communities lending exceptional works. Armenian collections lending select works are the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Portugal and in America, the Diocese of the Armenian Church (Eastern) (New York); the Armenian Museum of America (Boston); and the Alex and Marie Manoogian Museum (Southfield, Michigan). Additional works are coming from The Met and other American and European institutions.


Photographs of Armenian architecture and landscapes by noted Armenian-Canadian photographer Hrair Hawk Khatcherian and his assistant Lilit Khachatryan will provide context for the works in the exhibition, in the catalogue, and on the exhibition page of the website.

The exhibition runs until 13 January, 2019.

Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art [July 01, 2018]

TANN

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